I’m getting used to toting the portable heater from the bathroom to my bedroom. I even found it comme d’habitude to put on four layers of shirts and sweaters this morning. Walking to retrieve my warm shoes out from under the radiator before breakfast was déjà vu. It was suddenly a winter in my childhood and I remembered dressing the radiator in our bedroom with my clothes as a kid before bed so they’d be toasty in the morning.
When I first arrived at Le Chat Luthier, I had the worst time figuring out how to open and close the shutters. It was the cremones that challenged me: those amazing mechanical floor to ceiling bar and latch systems which not only seal the inside shutters closed, but the entire to-the-floor windows, as well. Like today’s computers, they work amazingly well if you know how to operate them and just like computers, it’s almost hopeless if you don’t. But once I caught onto them, I had to train myself which direction the bifold shutters folded back. French origami. Trickier you might expect, until you’ve been wrenching them open and closed twice a day all your life. And it must be done vigilantly according to my art historian friend, Laura Gelfand. The French are adamant about the shutters more out a residual medieval fear of unhealthy air currents in the house, courants d’air, (remember the mistral?) than a desire for privacy.
My natural skill set is somewhere between cremones and computers. I’m neither a member of generation x,y or z. I’m one of the last of the baby boomers. Second of four children that issued from a war romance. I can instinctively drag a space heater around or remember to armor my clothes in winter like my adult kids clack around on a keyboard. And now that I’m just getting the hang of this sly Luthier’s front door lock and his romantic cremones, it’s gonna be time to leave.
Brev (French street talk I learned for something like “in short”, “moving on” or “cut!”), I’m driving to Cannet on the Mediterranean to visit a muse, Pierre Bonnard. Unfortunately he won’t be there. He died in 1947. But his quaint seaside home there has been exploded into a 21st century museum dedicated to his works. Somehow he managed to create amazing paintings while bombs burst, before babies boomed and way before laptops lost wi-fi. I’m even taking the back roads instead of the auotroute and stop by the old-fashioned street market in Lorgues on the way and snatch a pique-nique and paint by the sea. I could get used to that real fast- Comme d’habitude